Manifest Season 2 Episode 3: False Horizon Recap

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So many amusing things happened on Manifest this week that I can’t resist commenting on them, so here’s a recap.

Mick treats Jared like dirt in order to get Zeke out of prison, because those two are legitimately the worst. Grace’s baby makes her hallucinate black dragons. Mick, Zeke and Cal share visions of a horrific plane disaster, which they see as a positive bonding experience.

Ben and Vance decide that lying to Saanvi, tricking her into helping them find the Major and not telling her she’s in mortal peril is A-OK. Saanvi is not okay with this scenario and is smarter than the three of them put together. She has a plan for dealing with them.

After her family shuts her out of their affections, Olive turns to an 828 cult for the love she’s missing. Her parents don’t notice. They’re just glad she seems happy now and isn’t bothering them anymore.

I become certain the 828ers are possessed by demons. But I think Cal should get to ride a dragon, after everything he’s been through.

Longer Recap

The episode opens with a flashback to Saanvi’s flight to Jamaica 6 years ago. She was waiting for her boyfriend to board the plane, but he ditched her at the last second. In the present day, she tells Counselor Major that a piece of her died that day, even though she keeps hoping he’ll get in touch with her. Since her return, she’s been writing and rewriting a note that she never sends. The Major encourages her to send it, probably so her people can find Alex and blackmail him into spying on Saanvi for them.

Ben has had several interviews with the math department at the college from last week. Today he’s giving a guest lecture on combinatorics. Michaela stops by the house and the two of them admire Olive’s new pink hair streaks. Ben secretly thinks they’re too much for his little girl, while Mick was much wilder than Olive at her age.

Vance has been surveilling Saanvi round the clock, but can’t figure out how the Major is getting information from her. Ben hates lying to her while they try to find the leak. It doesn’t occur to either to bring Saanvi in on the case, which is just insulting.

Mick tells Ben that he needs to emotionally detach from Saanvi so that lying to her will be easier.

Wow. Sisterhood for the win.

Ben throws Zeke in her face, the man-baby she can’t see clearly. Cal gives Mick a drawing from their shared plane vision to give to Zeke.

Cal is a real enabler of bad romances.

Olive visits Adrian’s Church of the Returned, where her new buddy, Maxine, talks about how cute coats and cult-like speeches have saved her from being a lost teenager. Olive wonders if living in a dream world can save her as well.

Vance’s men have searched every inanimate object connected to Saanvi that they can think of. It’s not clear whether they’ve also searched Saanvi, since she’s being treated like an inanimate object at this point.

Did I miss the part where Saanvi showed herself to be untrustworthy or stupider than these two in some way? Shouldn’t the first course of action be to bring her in on the mission and talk to her?

Vance decides they should escalate their lies to Saanvi so that she’ll feed a story about false callings to the Major. How this will affect their future working relationship with Saanvi, a key member of the team prior to this, doesn’t matter. Ben puts up a token resistance, but if you can frame a betrayal as ultimately being about protection, Ben will go for it. And he does.

Vance tells Ben to set their trap. He actually refers to Saanvi as an inanimate object to be used without even gaining her consent in this spy mission. She’s being used twice over, by both sides, and neither is showing any care or respect for her as a human being.

Grace has an appointment with her OB. On the way out, she shares her ginger anti-nausea snacks with another mom-to-be. This throws Grace into a hallucinatory calling, with the instruction to “Open her eyes” and a vision of a giant black dragon/gargoyle in the sky.

After last week’s seizure, Zeke has been medicated and moved to a hospital cell. Obviously the Major has it in for him. Mick is determined to have his new public defender get him off and to force her way into the restricted ward where he’s being kept. She doesn’t know he’s been moved.

She can’t understand why Jared, the guy who was the love of her life up until 10 minutes ago, won’t help her get her new deadbeat boyfriend out of jail. Some people are just so rigid.

By the time Grace gets home, she’s decided that she needs to track down the other mom and warn her. Cal is allowed to help her, because, as we know, he was really her favorite all along, AND SHE CAN’T BE SEPARATED FROM HIM AGAIN. Ben is the man of the house, so she coos at him to go do manly important things. Olive is sent to sit in the corner and do her homework alone, like the reminder of Grace’s mistakes that she is.

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Saanvi and her new pal Troy Davis are hanging out in her lab, watching the DNA sequencer do its thing. In Troy’s mind, they’re on a hot science date. In Saanvi’s mind, her life is a disaster, since Ben is firmly back with Grace; her ex, Alex, has ignored her for years; and she can’t find a DNA marker unique to the 828 passengers.

She obsessively rewrites her note to Alex, because we all know that the saints who cure cancer are really just obsessive stalkers waiting to happen. No normal young woman spends that much time in a lab, am-I-right???

When Ben comes to the door, she looks like a lovesick cartoon cow. He gives her the fake passenger file he’s worked up to fool her and the Major into thinking someone is having more callings than Cal. Saanvi is excited and wants to go take their blood straightaway. Ben looks suitably guilty, so that we know he’s actually Captain America and shouldn’t be blamed for the way he’s treating her.

Mick figures out where Zeke is being held and tries to call him on the phone. They won’t let her speak to him, because prisons are funny about bringing potentially psychotic patients to the phone. But it doesn’t matter anyway, because their psychic connection flares up and they share a vision of being on the plane. Unfortunately, the plane has a gaping hole at one end and Zeke falls out. Mick fails to practice emotional detachment.

Word of Ben’s lecture has gotten out and the student audience is standing room only. As he tries to speak about Combinatorics, a fun and useful advanced math subject, they interrupt him with constant questions about Flight 828. TJ, the student from last week, is also present, and asks a question that allows Ben to gracefully stear the lecture back on course. The hiring committee is impressed with his entertaining and knowledgeable lecture style.

Grace and Cal track down the other expectant mother at a soccer field. She feels like she’s being stalked and reacts badly to seeing them, walking away and blaming her husband for her quick exit. Grace has the calling a second time, but doesn’t know how to help someone who’s avoiding her.

Saanvi is still obsessively writing her note to Alex. Her draft reveals that she was having an affair with a married man, because of course the smear job that the show is doing on her makes her feelings for Ben part of a pattern. Fatal Attraction, here we come.

Does this show hate women and girls, or what? They’re all unhinged, but the more educated and powerful, the more evil they are. Except Ben’s dearly departed mother, of course. Dead white mothers must be shown respect.

Ben shows up at Saanvi’s lab again. Saanvi proudly tells him that she’s found a gene mutation that might be the one, but she needs to confirm it by testing his new guy, so why don’t they go right now.

Ben confesses that the Major has a mole somewhere in the hospital who’s been stealing information from Saanvi. Saanvi worries that the Major already knows about the new passenger, so Ben tell her that the new guy is a fake. He tries to convince her that he lied to her because she was safer not knowing what was going on. She could have stupidly tipped off the Major. Which doesn’t sound like an argument for her safety, when you think about it.

Or she might have been kidnapped or killed by the Major because she didn’t know that she was in harm’s way and needed to be extra careful, but let’s not split hairs.

Saanvi figures out that Ben and Mick aren’t smart enough to be responsible for this plan by themselves. Ha. Nice backhanded insult. I’m not sure Ben got it, because he’s not even smart enough to get a part time job teaching math without the help of his 828 fame, which is just sad.

Math teachers are generally in demand. Maybe the English majors who write this show don’t know that.

Ben admits that Vance is still alive. Saanvi rightly tells him that he had no right to involve her in this plan without her consent and that he should have trusted her. She orders him to  leave. He’s still mouthing lame excuses for why he and Vance get to make decisions for her that involve risking her life.

Notice he doesn’t admit he did anything wrong. He doesn’t even understand he did anything wrong. He thinks he was totally justified in making decisions for her, because as a man it’s his job to protect her. Grace chooses to work on the callings with Cal because she’s training him to believe that he’s a man who can protect and advise her, while Olive is just a useless girl. But it’s not really about the callings. It’s about treating women as useless objects unless a man decides they have a momentary purpose. Since they are angry and disagree with this point of view, Saanvi will now be turning into a scary evil woman. I can’t blame her.

Saanvi smashes her phone. We both pretend it’s Ben’s head. Also, this way it can’t used it to track her, by either side. Later, we’ll see Vance try to use her phone to track her.

Back to our other unhinged woman- Mick has lied and forced her way into the prison hospital to break Zeke out. Because of their shared plane crash vision, he’s realized that he’s not supposed to be in prison after all. He should be free, with her and Cal, until he falls out of a plane.

Mick begs him to become her most abusive boyfriend ever as she’s being dragged out of his cell so that her boss can fire her. Yeah, just kidding, she has the best plot armor ever. Mick tells him the name of the most effective public defender ever, who will get his charges dropped in about 5 minutes, thanks to Mick’s creative use of the “facts”.

Because Mick, who is a deadbeat girlfriend at heart, is meant to be with her deadbeat boyfriend. Before long, even though she just burned Jared in court, she’ll figure out a reason why Jared should support the two of them financially forever, so they can be tragic and chase callings that don’t pan out until their death dates arrive.

New Amsterdam commercial: Martha Jones, how I miss you.

Vance has a proper hissy fit when he finds out that Saanvi is in on his secret. Vance has intimacy issues.

NOW Ben insists that he trusts her. Too little, too late, buddy. You’re really, really, really not the white knight you think you are.

But, wow, Vance, let’s get misogynist- the only people who know you’re alive are you, Ben and A BUNCH OF WOMEN!

Vance decides his asset is compromised and he needs to get in front of it. What does that mean? Is he going to assassinate her?

Saanvi is a dedicated scientist, which means she knows how to create a complicated but flexible plan and follow through with it, and she does just that.

Grace accidentally stalks Erika some more, but Erika is onto her and is anti-828. She thinks they’re all freaks and abominations and should die, including the baby. Grace tells her off, which may or may not open Erika’s eyes in the way the calling wants, but I can’t blame Grace.

Saanvi has an emergency session with her counselor and feeds her false information about her research. Counselor Major eats it up. Saanvi tells her that she has important samples stored in the lab fridge.

Jared spends the evening in a bar, where he buys a round of drinks for the 828 haters.

As they prepare for dinner, Grace frets to Mick about how much the world hates the 828ers and how much it will hurt her little boy. Olive bounces by and suggests they share the callings with the world, so that everyone will know what miracles they are. Grace wonders if that’s what her calling meant.

The next time Olive is at the Church of the Returned, she tells her story to the congregation and says she’s a believer. Adrian has the group chant, “Blessed are the children of the Returned, for they will inherit the miracle.”

I can’t tell if Olive has really decided to dive into the cult or if she has an evil plan brewing.

The hiring committee were impressed with Ben and give him the job on the spot. They also ask him to lead a seminar at the next faculty retreat called Making Math Accessible. The professor who asks Ben to lead the seminar, Simon White, says goodnight, then Ben’s friend, Suzanne, shows him to his new office.

Simon gets into the car with his wife- Erica, who told Grace she wished the baby would die. Simon tells her he hired Ben. “Welcome to my parlor,’ said the spider to the fly.”

I have a feeling the faculty seminar might not be as much fun as it sounds.

The camera pulls away and reveals gargoyles attached to the top of the school building.

Saanvi visits Ben and Vance to inform them that she’s found the leak. She set up a surveillance camera in her lab, which filmed Dr Matthews siphoning samples from the vials in her fridge. Saanvi explains that Matthews introduced her to her psychiatrist, Dr Regier, who’s also the one she told about her research findings. Saanvi knows Dr Regier is the leak.

Realizing that they’ve allowed Saanvi to reveal her innermost thoughts to the Major for longer than necessary, a humiliating and dangerous experience, Ben finally apologizes. Vance insults her further by saying she’s an idiot for giving her research to the Major. She stops him and says the vials were fake- and it’ll take the Major weeks to discover it. Vance says she’s a better spy than Ben.

Apparently, she’s a smarter spy than Vance.

He shows her photos of all of the female agents who could pose as her psychiatrist. They’re shocked to discover that Saanvi’s choice, Kathryn Fitz, carries the rank of Major General- she’s the Major. She’s a psychological warfare specialist, who spent 30 years in black ops.

Good thing they “protected” Saanvi by letting her sit in a room alone with this woman poking around in her psyche.

Vance says it’s time to turn the tables.

Isn’t that what Saanvi just did? To both sides?


Commentary

I hope Saanvi becomes a double or triple agent and screws them all over. The series finale can show her and Matt Bomer’s character from White Collar back in Jamaica together.

Wow, racism much- Lourdes and Danny appear to be gone forever, Jared is being dismissed as an over-possessive love interest, while Mick and Cal are obsessed with Zeke the man-baby. The Stones like to stick with their own kind, these days. Saanvi, the most trustworthy, honorable person on this show, who cured cancer along with returning from the dead, is suddenly undergoing a character assassination into a slutty femme fatale homewrecker who the Stones are just using- where did this come from? Do all of the female characters really have to be femme fatales? Did Vance really have to give up his entire life to prove he’s trustworthy, and be a big old misogynist to boot?

Clearly the new baby will be a full on wizard and dragon rider and this is her spirit guardian, arriving early. I hope she takes Olive for rides, because Olive has suffered enough exclusion for the 828 cause. I hope they fly away and find Danny, so he can be their hot, cool foster dad.

Grace is bigger than she was with twins. Is the baby a dragon? Is it Danny’s and he’s an alien demon? The other mom, Erika, says she’s waiting to tell her daughter about the pregnancy until she’s out of the woods. Is she having an alien baby, too? Is there an alien demon baby infestation?

I really need some action beyond Zeke falling out of a plane in a hallucination.

Grace is glad that Cal doesn’t have to have cool callings like seeing a dragon- has she paid attention to the callings he’s had? He’s seen way worse alternatives than either Ebeneezer Scrooge or George Bailey saw in their alternative presents and futures, including seeing his own grave. A gargoyle might be the best thing anyone has seen.

Erika tells Grace: “I hope you lose that baby.”- Whoa, guess she doesn’t believe in karma.

In court, Michaela burns Jared the way he deserves, but not for herself. He’s treated her like his property since she returned from Jamaica and needs to be put in his place for that. He also overstepped with Zeke. But Jared is fundamentally a decent guy who just needs to come into this century, same as Ben.

Zeke is a guy who appears good, but is a charismatic narcissist who will drag everyone else down with him if given the chance. This show will probably do the usual Beauty and the Beast bait and switch with him, but it’s a bad idea to believe that someone will change. They almost never do, especially when they expect their girlfriend to do the work for them. Those are the guys you should run away from, as far and fast as possible.

So I can’t exactly be happy about Mick and Zeke- I agree with Jared that he’s trouble. I didn’t like Lourdes much, but the actress’ new show (Almost Family) is about to get cancelled. Maybe they can bring her back to save Jared from a half life of forever pining after Mick while she leads him on, uses him, then yells at him for caring about her. I’d much rather see Jared and Lourdes as Mick’s nemeses, staring daggers at her in the police station halls.

Saanvi successfully beat the Major at her own game. The Major actually inadvertently did Saanvi a favor by showing her the truth about the 828 people around her and what they really think of her. Mick was incredibly cold in her assessment of how Ben should treat Saanvi, who went out of her way for them in season 1. In this episode, Saanvi learned that her research is the only real thing in her life.

Likewise, Olive learned that she’s not really part of her family, so she turned to a cultish church for love and support instead. Both Olive and Saanvi have powerful insider information that can be sold to the highest bidder or influenced out of them. Right now, they have little reason to keep their secrets.

Saanvi has little reason to continue doing research for free, essentially at the bidding of the Stone family. She could be working for the Major or a corporate genetic or pharmaceutical lab instead, now that she has some results to show around. Saanvi’s been holding herself back in order to do Ben favors.

Ben and Michaela seem to think that they are entitled to own the 828 secrets and that no matter who they hurt, everyone owes them loyalty anyway. That’s simply not true.

Images courtesy of NBC.

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